Milan, the name that draws wistful sighs and gleaming eyes from fashion’s elite. The second most populous city in Italy, Milan is a haven for fashion, business and banking. Filled with architecture and culture, Milan offers an eclectic mix of things to do both for the fashion bunny and the everyday traveller.
What to see and do
To start, scale the famous Duomo and be rewarded by breathtaking views of the city and if you go on a clear day, you might even be able to catch a glimpse of the surrounding mountains. Walk amongst the spires that rise from the top of the Duomo and appreciate the fantastic architecture. A small tip, a special surprise awaits those who go all the way and climb up the last few flights of stairs right to the top. There, you will be able to get a closer look at the city’s symbol – the golden Madoninna, or little Madonna, who sits atop the Duomo’s tallest spire.
Next, feast on Da Vinci’s Last Supper at the Santa Maria delle Grazie church, a must see for both the religious as well as those interested in art. One slight problem is that getting tickets to see the famous fresco can be incredibly difficult with strict limitations on the number of people who can be in the room at any one time. During peak and occasionally even low seasons, tickets can be sold out months in advance. If this is on your must-see list, be sure to plan well ahead and book your tickets online.
Aside from its architectural and artistic heritage and culture, Italy is also famous for its gastronomic culture. Try Milan’s signature dishes of ossobuco (cross cut veal shanks braised with vegetables in white wine and broth), and risotto alla Milanese (a saffron infused rice). Take the time also to indulge in an aperitivo, Milan’s glammed up version of the pub-crawl.
If you get a tad weary of the hustle and bustle of city life in Milan, there are a few good-sized parks in the city center where you can surround yourself with nature and fresh air. The easiest park for most tourists to visit is Parco Sempione, which circles around and behind the imposing Castello Sforzesco (there are lots of museums inside the castle now, so it’s a good place to visit to sightsee). There’s also the Giardini Pubblici to the northeast of the historic city center beyond the Quadrilatero d’Oro (Milan’s high-end shopping district).
How to get around
In Milan, the easiest way to get around is using their Metro system, a network of underground trains that stop at major attractions around the city. Car and motorcycle rentals are available from the central train station and airports and bicycle rentals are also available for those who want a more leisurely ride.
How to get there
Check Skyscanner for your preferred flight from major cities in New Zealand to the Milan Malpensa or Linate Airports. From there you can either take a train or a bus shuttle service to get to the city centre.